We can bet that not many people know there was an American Civil War general called William Tecumseh Sherman and that there is a magnificent tree named after him still growing in California.
The General Sherman tree also bears the title of the largest living thing on earth and the biggest tree on the planet. Now, that is impressive for this 2,000-year-old sequoia tree that proudly sits in Sequoia National Park in Tulare County near the city of Visalia.
There is no larger tree trunk anywhere in the world like that of the General Sherman at 17.5 feet in diameter. A sequoia’s trunk remains wide high up. The massive tree stands 275 feet tall and is over 36 feet in diameter at the base, and it is its volume that has captured the title of the biggest tree in the world.
Although the tree is growing so to speak, the majority of it is comprised of deadwood. A very large branch fell off the tree and damaged the area and nearby cement walkway in 2006 after a winter storm. That missing limb, however, did not alter the tree’s amazing status as king of the forest because its huge trunk remains intact.
If tree experts do not consider measuring volume, then the tallest giant sequoia sits in Redwood Mountain Grove (Kings Canyon National Park) at 94.9 m.
There are three other massively tall trees located on the west coast. These include the tallest measured specimen of the coast redwood at 115.55 m (379.1 feet) tall, considered the tallest tree in the world. The tallest known Douglas-fir holds a height of 100.3m tall, and the tallest known Sitka spruce comes in at 96.7 m. tall.
The title of the tallest hardwood tree on the planet goes to the Australian mountain ash with a giant height of 100 to 101 m (328 to 331 ft).
The giant sequoia is not the only living plant that boasts tremendous girth. African baobab trees store water in their thick trunks, and following the wet season, some of these trees can attain a similar girth of 8.98 m diameter.
One oddly shaped tree with multiple stems also presents tremendous girth. It is called the árbol del Tule in Mexico with a diameter of 11.42 m.
Regarding extremely old trees, the Golden State also has an exceptional specimen in the bristlecone pine that can live between 4,000 and 5,000 years. The South American alerce is another long-lasting tree. Meanwhile, the oldest living bristlecone is about 4,789 years old and is the world’s oldest tree.
Trees that are centuries old can also be found in Europe. Consider the yew trees of Western Europe. Many of these stunning living plants are located on ancient graveyards in Normandy (France) and Great Britain.
For those who love enormous trees, there are many unique, global specimens. Here is yet another that is growing in Howrah, India. It wears the title of the largest crown with an impressive measurement covering an area of about 3.7 acres. It’s a tropical tree called the banyan tree.
Another huge tree with extraordinary features is related to the banyan and called the Australian Moreton Bay fig. There’s one standing in the botanical garden of Palermo, Sicily. Amazingly, the fig tree features a girth of 13.5 m and a height of 30 m.
Just 5 minutes away on Piazza Marina, sits another tree that can rival the Australian Moreton Bay. This fig tree boasts a girth of 20 m.
To see majestic trees like the General Sherman in person tells the story and puts it all in perspective.